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Media Release

Saturday 1 June 2024

This HIV Testing Week (1-7 June), Positive Life NSW asks what assumptions do you have about HIV? HIV Testing Week encourages all sexually active individuals regardless of sexual orientation or risk profile, Medicare eligible or not, to ask for a test and challenge the assumptions associated with HIV.

“It’s time to ditch the assumptions about HIV to create a safe and supportive environment for all people regardless of gender or sexual orientation to ask for a HIV test,” said Positive Life NSW Senior Health Promotion and Peer Navigation Manager, Andrew Heslop.

This annual public health initiative led by NSW Health, emphasises the importance for anyone who is sexually active, regardless of gender or sexual orientation to get a free, quick HIV test to take control of their sexual health.

“It’s estimated that 10 per cent of people living with HIV in NSW are unaware they have acquired HIV,” said Positive Life NSW CEO, Jane Costello. “It may come as a surprise that around one in every four people diagnosed with HIV identify as heterosexual, and many are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds” said Ms Costello.

“Getting a HIV test also means if you’ve been living with HIV unawares, you’ll be able to get immediate treatment, protect your long-term health and get the care and support to live a healthy life,” said Mr Heslop. “Anyone can also take steps to prevent HIV transmission by getting tested, and using other prevention strategies such as PrEP with the support of their GP or a free NSW Health Clinic, or using condoms,” he said.

HIV testing should be routinely offered to all women, men, and gender diverse people who ask for a HIV test or who are diagnosed with another sexually transmissible infection (STI).

With early diagnosis, today’s medication means that all people living with HIV can plan for a normal, healthy future while managing HIV effectively.

HIV tests are fast and easy with a number of confidential and free testing options such as:


Jane Costello, CEO – 1800 245 677 or email communications@positivelife.org.au

Positive Life NSW is the largest peer-led and run representative body of all people living with HIV in Australia based in NSW. We make a significant contribution to, and positive impact across the spectrum of health and social issues on behalf of all people living with HIV in collaboration with HIV specialist and mainstream services to improve the health and quality of life of all people living with HIV in NSW. We do this through evidence-based health promotion, research, policy advice and peer support.

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